Computer Technology Best Used in the Design Process?
The Design Process of a Forty-Five Foot Sailing Boat'
Computers are now being used in a growing number of applications. Computers have become a part of almost every academic discipline and area of expertise that anyone can imagine. Computer programs can perform many tasks more quickly and in some cases better than a human can. Computers allow us to see objects from all angles and create hypothetical situations to determine have the object will react in certain situations such as a crash or in a wind tunnel to test aerodynamics. Computers allow engineers to analyze projects quickly and efficiently.
Shipbuilding has been around for thousands of years and the early boat builders did not have the convenience of using high tech equipment. Since these first boats were built, there has been a driving force to make the better, bigger, faster, and more useful for human beings. Now computers aid ship builders in many ways. The following research will explore the use of computers in modern boat design.
The following research will investigate the development of sailing boat design and construction, providing a selective study of the history of sailing boats including their use, design and construction, and evolution. Secondly, an investigation of the development of computer technology for design purposes will show how the accessibility of computer hardware and the availability of software are major factors that enable their use as tools to aid the design process. Third, a summary will be provided as to when, where and how computer technology has been used in the design process of the case study, and evaluate previously discussed information regarding the application of computer technology in the design process. This research will support the thesis that computers are an essential element to modern ship design.
Development of Sailing Boat Design and Construction'
In order to understand the needs of modern boat designers one must have a thorough understanding of how it developed from its very beginnings. The following will give an overview of the basics of boat design and will track the major changes through time to present. The basic idea and concept of the boat has not changed. However, there have been many advances in hull design, propulsion systems, stability, and other features that are important consideration in modern boat design.
Boats are a tool that must be of use to human beings. Boats were first developed in response to certain social needs and as these needs changed so did boats, their design and usage. Boats are primarily for the purpose of transportation of people and goods, no matter what the final intent of the people, the role of the boat is always transportation. The following overview will examine how the use of ships has changed over time and how the design of ships have changed in reopens to changing needs. New technology has undoubtedly had an impact on the design of ships. It is the combination of these factors that have led to the advances in shipbuilding that embody the art as is today.
History of Sailing Boats
The Vikings were one of the earliest, if not perhaps the earliest group of people known to build boats. Viking boats were primarily used for war or trading purposes. There was no distinction in design for war ships or trading ships (Greenhill, 1976). The boats were propelled by eight oarsmen and were kept afloat by ballasts to balance the load. These boats were cumbersome and not very stable, particularly given the fierce storms to which the North Sea can sometimes fall victims.
These boats served the purposes of the Vikings for quite some time. However, the population grew and soon the Vikings had to travel further to find the items to meet their basic needs. Boats needed to be able to travel further distances. This caused the Vikings to redesign their boats and they soon became one of he greatest seafaring cultures in the world. They could engage on trade and wage war in far away lands. Boats had to be able to withstand deep water sailing in the open sea. (Greenhill, 1976). These later ships appear to have been designed to be warships rather than trading vessels. All of these boats lacked the ability to sail. Early Scandinavia was characterized by a low level of economic activity. It primarily needed ships for short-range coastal raiding. It later needed to develop long-range ships for exploration purposes, raiding and trade. These required some sailing capability (Greenhill, 1976).
During the beginning of the sixteenth century the principle vessel for both war and trade was the Carrack. The development of the Carrack occurred in response to the development of better artillery. In the beginning war ships were simply merchant ships with artillery attached. Combat was at close quarters and was usually hand to hand. As artillery got better and could cover longer distances, the design of the ship changed in response and began to resemble floating castles with embattlements and holes cut into the hull to expose artillery (Kemp, 1978). Now a decision had to be made when building a ship as to whether the hull would carry cargo or whether it would be primarily for war. The decision effected the hull design and it was difficult to house both artillery and cargo at the same time.
Trade routes were opening all over the world and technology advanced at an alarming rate due to the free and easy exchange of ideas. Designing for space efficiency also had to be taken into account. All of this artillery required a crew to use it and they needed certain things such as food, fresh water, and space and had weight. Therefore shipbuilding had to begin considering these things as well. In many cases there was a trade off depending on the final usage of the ship. These ships were both a result of and in response to a changing economy in which ships could mean the success of failure of an economy. Ships brought the world to a single location and an economic class called the merchant class developed in many countries, particularly Portugal, Spain and the Dutch. The merchant class did not have all of he riches afforded to the aristocracy; however, they were not as poor as the peasants were either. They were considered to be wealthy and advances in shipbuilding played an important role in the development of this middle class.
Throughout the next several hundred years shipbuilding advances occurred in response to better propulsion system. Steam engines allowed faster crossings and passenger ships were developed. This allowed for the mass migration of people when they did not agree with the conditions in their own country. Advances in shipbuilding gave people the right to choose their own destiny and played an important part in the development of the world as it is today. Ships made travel faster, and more affordable. A trip across the Atlantic the used to take 1-2 months now only took 2 weeks.
Today shipbuilding is a highly specialized field. The choice is not as simple as whether to build a war ship or whether to build a merchant ship. Boats have a variety of uses from war to cargo, to passenger and cruise ships to sailing and fishing boats. All of these boats require a highly specialized design. Some prefer the elegance of the yacht and prefer to engage in sailing as a sport. Even within the specific areas of shipbuilding, there is even more specialization. Shipbuilding caters to the individual now winning the race does not occur entirely in the water. Raves are won in the design and building of the boat, not just the sailing itself. This research will focus primarily on sailing boats and yachts, as we know them today.
Developments in Sailing Boat Designs
There are many surviving boats from the Viking era and from these survivors one can develop a sense of what shipbuilding developments took place during that time. There are hundreds in existence and we will focus on a few examples that seem to have qualities typical of many of the finds from the era. One of these boats was the Nydam boat. It consisted of an oak hull and the construction of this boat embodies the five basic developments in ship building technique.
The Nydam boat contained a proper stand and stern posts, which are made from curved single timbers. They are rabbeted along their length to accept the hook ends of the strakes and horizontally scarfed into the keel board. Earlier boats had crude plank endings and this construction was an advancement over earlier techniques (Greenhill, 1976)
The Nydam ship was one of the first to have something resembling a keel. It did not yet have the proper form of a keel, but it was much narrower than the hull strakes and was shaped to accept the garboard strakes (Greenhill, 1976). This suggests that advancements in ship design occurred as…
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